It might not be that energy drink that’s jacking your blood pressure after you chug a can. A new study suggests bisphenol A, or BPA, can seep into drinks and raise blood pressure within just a few hours.
The study, conducted by a team from Seoul National University’s department of preventative medicine, was published in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association, and noted by the New York Times.
Though BPA has been associated with heart disease, cancer and other health problems, this study is one of the first to show the compound can have a direct and nearly immediate impact on the cardiovascular system. The FDA banned it from baby bottles and sippy cups in 2012.
In the randomized, controlled trial, the Korean researchers gave 60 older subjects, mostly women, soy milk in either cans or glass bottles. They drank the milk on three separate occasions, weeks apart. They picked soy milk because it’s not known to hike blood pressure and is not acidic enough to leach BPA from containers.
Subjects who drank from glass bottle had BPA levels that remained fairly low. It was a different story for the subjects who drank from cans. Within two hours, their level of BPA shot up by 16 percent. So did their systolic blood pressure, by an average of 5 millimeters of mercury. Generally, every 20 millimeter increase in systolic blood pressure doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease.
“Clinicians and patients—particularly hypertension or cardiovascular disease patients—should be aware of the potential clinical problems for blood pressure elevation when consuming canned food and beverages,” Dr. Yun-Chul Hong, an author of the study and director of the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Seoul National University, told the Times.
“I think this is a very interesting and important study that adds to the concern about bisphenol A,” said Dr. Karin B. Michels, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital said in the Times story. “It raises a lot of questions. We have such a high rate of hypertension in this country, which has risen, and we haven’t really thought of bisphenol A and its use in cans as one of the causes of that. ”